Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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France-flagGermany-flagAugust 2013


Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease is an inflammatory disease causing the degeneration of the head of the femur (thigh bone) leading to the disintegration of the hip joint.  LCP may be autoimmune in origin.  LCP usually arises between 5 and 8 months of age and is typically seen in toy and small dogs but has, on rare occasions been reported in Australian Shepherds.  It can affect either or both hips.  Dogs with LCP will limp, may carry an affected leg, and will exhibit hip pain.  You may see wasting of the thigh muscles in the affected leg(s).  Restriction of activity, pain relief and cold packing affected joints may help but in many cases surgery, followed by physical therapy, is necessary.  Post-surgical adherence to PT regimens and regular veterinary follow-up are necessary to ensure recovery.

Inheritance is unknown, but its possible autoimmune nature indicates that it may be.  Due to its quality-of-life impact and the need for major surgery in most cases, it should be assumed to be so.  Affected dogs should not be bred.